Young chefs get fishy as they prepare for final cooking challenge

Published: Tuesday 21st February 17

Finalists in the fourth annual Wandsworth Young Chef of the Year competition have been on an early morning trip to Billingsgate Market for a masterclass in how to source, select and fillet fish and prepare it for the table.

The mayor looks on as finalists get expert advice from Ken Condon, who has lived and worked as a fishmonger in Battersea all his life

The budding chefs will be competing in the final of the competition next month, and the masterclass by the Billingsgate Seafood School is just part of the extensive training and mentoring they have received since the competition launched in October.

Wandsworth Young Chef, run by the Mayor of Wandsworth and the council’s lifelong learning team, teaches young people how to cook good healthy food to a budget, and gives them the opportunity to access training, mentoring and valuable experience in the catering industry with a view to helping them get jobs in the future.

Eira Gaza from Burntwood learns fish prep skills

Support is being provided by the South Thames College catering school and major catering company Compass, which has been involved with the competition since it launched in 2013.

All the finalists have been taught key techniques and will have to stick to a budget. They will be expected to think about presentation, seasoning, sustainability and budget. 

This year the council’s Lifelong Learning team have also securing funding from the European Social Fund. This means as well as extra resources for the Young Chef competition, the council will be offering additional support for young people interested in the hospitality sector, including work experience.

The Mayor of Wandsworth Cllr Richard Field went along to the Billingsgate masterclass. He said:

“The Wandsworth Young Chef competition has gone from strength to strength, and I’d like to thank everyone who has taken part in, or provided support for, the competition.

“Once again Billingsgate Seafood School has provided our finalists with a fish masterclass in preparation and cooking techniques which was fascinating to watch. I know our budding masterchefs learnt a lot from it and I look forward to tasting the dishes they prepare for the final.”


Notes to editors: The schools taking part are:

  • St Cecilia’s, Wandsworth
  • Burntwood School
  • Ernest Bevin College
  • Southfields Academy
  • Harris Academy, Battersea

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